Diversity and inclusion is a major hot topic in today’s workplace discussions. As it should be! Did you know that companies with a diverse workforce are 35% more likely to outperform companies without one? And more inclusive organizations generate 1.4 times the revenue too! So it’s easy to see why the National Association of College & Employers (NACE) has included Global & Intercultural Fluency as a key competency for career readiness.
NACE defines this competency as an individual’s capacity to “value, respect, and learn from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions. The individual demonstrates, openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity, and the ability to interact respectfully with all people and understand individuals’ differences.” True progress in this area does not rest solely within a classroom or textbook, it exists best within experience. Fortunately, as a college student, the opportunities to experience diversity are close to endless. Here are some ideas:
- Apply for a study aboard program. (Fun Fact: UD was the first to launch a study abroad program back in 1923!)
- Become an LGBT Ally.
- Join RSOs! There’s a bunch that focus on multicultural awareness – don’t be afraid to join one that is a different culture than yours.
Let’s zone in on studying abroad – my greatest college regret was not taking advantage of this when I was an undergrad. However, I lucked out and got to participate in a study abroad trip to Barbados as a teaching assistant in a past position. The month that I spent in “Bim” (the local nickname for the island), changed my entire perspective on the world and people around me. It gave me a yearning to not only learn about different cultures, but to also have more meaningful interactions with the people around me. It’s a yearning that I took home with me back to the States and one that I hope that I never lose. It’s served me so well in my conversations with people from different backgrounds both at work and in my personal life.
Companies like Google, Proctor & Gamble, Walgreens, Johnson & Johnson, and many more are making it their business to not only attract more diverse candidates to hire, but to also hire people who truly value diversity and inclusive company culture. After all, diverse and inclusive environments are shown to produce innovative ideas, productive work days, and employee satisfaction. So be prepared to answer questions like these on your interview day:
- What is your experience working with individuals from different cultural backgrounds from you?
- Describe a situation where you had to consider a different perspective than your own in order to complete a project.
Developing your own Global & Intercultural Fluency is an exciting, rewarding, and lifelong process that will do nothing but enhance your life both professionally and personally. Just remember, as the old saying goes, growth happens outside your comfort zone. What better time to get to know the different people around you than now!